- Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Hello, everyone — subscribers, blog-hoppers, lurkers, and passersby alike. It’s another week, which predictably entails another Library Loot post. I picked this haul up on Monday, just as a reading slump was about to hit. Weekly readings of 200 – 400 novels bear a toll, especially when multiple book stacks decorate the house. I want to read, but then I don’t want to read. I’m sucked dry of interest, which feels crummy for any avid reader. I feel pressure to read, and that sucks all the fun out! Sometimes I need reading breaks, and other times I simply need lighter material. Thankfully these are all children’s books and short novellas — I do love eye-catching artwork, and many children’s books have magical tales. They are also quick and stimulating, and I’m not waltzing through a 300-page novel with an attention span that refuses to focus.
- A Dignity of Dragons by Jacqueline K. Ogburn & illustrated by Nicolette Ceccoli
- The Lady & The Lion by Jacqueline K. Ogburn & illustrated by Laurel Long (re-read)
- The Magic Nesting Doll by Jacqueline K. Ogburn & illustrated by Laurel Long
I first read The Lady & the Lion in early June and now, three months later, I still feel enchanted by the tale and by Long’s illustrations. Ogburn notes:
This Grimms’ fairy tale is also known as “The Singing, Springing Lark.” It is an Aarne-Thompson tale type 425, “the search for the lost husband,” a type that also includes animal bridegroom tales. The story combines “Beauty and the Beast” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” Our retelling condenses the action, but we chose to follow the dramatic spirit of the ending of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” in our treatment of the villain.
The Lady & the Lion was requested for a second reading, but I naturally felt curious about Ogburn’s and Long’s other work. Hence, you see Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Laurel Long on almost everything this week, and I must say that disappointment is far from anything these books offer. The Magic Nesting Doll illustrations rest on equally impressive ground as the ones found in The Lady & the Lion, and I find both tales individually enjoyable. Some collective nouns in A Dignity of Dragons aren’t particularly creative and more of a let-down, but Ceccoli’s artistic style makes it difficult to peel my eyes away.
I recommend checking out each of these books, if only to ogle at the drawings. **I scanned a page from The Lady & the Lion and A Dignity of Dragons for curious people (click the respective links), but a copy fails to represent the real-life image.
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long
- The Mightiest Heart by Lynn Cullen & illustrated by Laurel Long
- Cupid & Psyche by M. Charlotte Craft & illustrated by K.Y. Craft
More children’s books, of course. The Twelve Days of Christmas is nothing more than the traditional festive song accompanied with attractive pages. Cullen’s book, The Mightiest Heart, narrates the life-long friendship between a prince and his dog. If you are unfamiliar with it, I warn that it is a sad story with happy (or bittersweet, depending on perspective) twist for an ending. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cupid & Psyche, but I think Cupid and Psyche’s love story is well-told and nicely illustrated for a child’s picture book. (And yes, I recommend these three as well.)
- Beauty & the Beast by Marianna Mayer & illustrated by Mercer Mayer
- The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde & illustrated by Dom Mansell
The last two were an extreme disappointment after the books before it, and it comes down to illustrations. Beauty & the Beast is a personal favorite, considering how I over-watched Disney’s version and played often with the Barbie dolls — the tale is special to me, as is Sleeping Beauty, since they dominated my growing-up years. The story itself is fine, but I don’t fancy the art. Beast has a beast’s form, all right, but with no neck and such an awkward, silly head I couldn’t over-look. I checked Mayer’s book out for its high ratings on GoodReads while I wait on Max Eilenberg’s take, which Angela Barrett illustrates… I hope it’s a step up from this version.
Just I have issues with Mercer Mayer’s illustrations, I also don’t like Mansell’s artwork for Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. I do like the story, but I found my mood punched down by the drawings — very cartoonish, which doesn’t seem to fit Wilde’s words. Personal preference, perhaps.
- The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang
- The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
- The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell
- The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi (Re-read)
Novellas! I hardly glanced at the text, but I’m excited to start Chiang’s book. I discovered it through GoodReads not long ago and couldn’t resist the pretty cover or the positive reviews. C.S. Richardson’s novella is a random find, picked off from one of many adult fiction shelves way far away in the back of the library — as I’ve joined Sara’s challenge, I had to find something and decided on The End of the Alphabet. The premise sounds promising, and — as I’ve discovered — the book is not widely known. I read The Alchemist last year and very much enjoyed it, but I never read the companion novella by Buckell. So far I am liking The Executioness, although I prefer Bacigalupi’s story.
That’s it for me this week! As a side-note for my regular visitors: apologies for the apparent lack of book reviews and blog activity. I caught a flu-like bug last week that will not leave me alone, so this is my excuse for slow-response time, falling behind on other bloggers’ posts, and any hideous typos that may mar your computer screen.